The Edmonds Citizens Tree Board is no longer responsible for writing code or policy, contrary to what some people still believe. Granted, when the Tree Board was first created in 2011, one of its goals was a tree ordinance as the Tree Board was under the legislative branch. We all know how gravely awry the tree ordinance process went and how poorly the citizens thought of the Tree Board after this complete misfire. Since 2015, the Tree Board is now housed in Ms. Shane Hope’s department and the Tree Board ordinance was updated to remove any code writing requirements.
In 2015, I became the City Council liaison and our group has participated in many educational and fun projects and the Board has ingratiated itself into the community. Board members have worked with various groups throughout the community like the Students Saving Salmon, Holy Rosary Church, Edmonds Garden Club, Edmonds in Bloom, Boy Scouts, Earthworks, Sound Salmon Solutions and many more. As a Tree City USA requirement, the Tree Board works side by side with Rich Lindsay and crew for our Arbor Day Tree planting event.
Three years ago, the city asked the Tree Board to participate in an “ivy pull event” on Earth Day and this year, it will be April 20 at City Park. The Tree Board has created a new logo to promote its mantra of “Right Tree – Right Place.” Two educational brochures have been created, tree fact-sheet identifiers show up yearly and wonderful “tree articles” have been written and posted to local media so as to allow folks a better understanding of the characteristics of trees. The Saturday Market has been a big hit as we raffle off trees and board members give free advice since we have three Master Gardeners on the team. If you have a chance, take a look at the Tree Board’s 2018 year-in-review on March 19, 2019 to City Council; I think you will see a great group of smart and energetic citizens.
In regards to codes or policy, Tree Board members or citizens have the right to provide detailed input to the City Council regarding any issues relating to trees. The City Council read a lot of very detailed comments regarding the poorly crafted Urban Forest Management Program (UFMP) from Davey Resource Group. To date, the contractor had not implemented significant changes (i.e. consider view areas and non-view areas or developer incentives, etc.) and it is now in the administration’s purview.
Sadly, the entire process has been incredibly slow as this is the third year that council has been waiting for this important document. More and more citizens continue to complain about the “pocket forest” being clear-cut by developers and the City Council has yet to see any sufficient codes to protect our trees except if the tree is in a critical area. These code updates and rewrites are pending completion of a UFMP, which finally Ms. Hope is bringing forth shortly. So, in summary, let’s all give our Tree Board members a hand for the great work they have done and remember any code issues fall upon the Administration and eventually Council.
— By Diane Buckshnis, Edmonds City Council